Half slave and half free essay

civil war / Bruce Levin / America / revolution / slave

Essay Topic:

The attitude towards slavery in Bruce Levins book Half slave and half free.

Essay Questions:

In what way is Bruce Levins book Half slave and half free book reveals the topic of the Civil War? What does Bruce Levins profession influence the essence of the book? How is the ethnocultural issue revealed in the book?

Thesis Statement:

It is not hard to guess what this book is about without even looking inside. It is not just an ordinary history book, for in the fist place it is survey of the 80 years preceding the Civil War.


Half slave and half free essay


Introduction: Every book has its special meaning to the author, for Bruce Levin it was a book embodied his attitude towards slavery and all the disasters that it brought into Americas peace and world. It is not hard to guess what this book is about without even looking inside. It is not just an ordinary history book, for in the fist place it is survey of the 80 years preceding the Civil War. Civil was one of his main interests that is why the book is of a very high historical level.

Bruce Levin was more than just a historian it was a man of real dedication to what he was investigating and writing (for instance all the documents included into the book), and his book Half slave and half free can even be called a historical masterpiece due to the depth and range of the historical survey. Talking first generally about the book it is very important to point about its core, the main thought or the main object of Levins survey. These words are often used in different manners in order to characterize Levins book and do it very exact, because this book really deals with divisive economic, social, cultural and political changes caused by social systems based on slave labor and free labor. Bruce Levin examines the social and economic character of antebellum America. Through this examination he comes to the main reasons America found itself in a situation of tension between North and South. Everybody knows the about the Civil war, but nobody really tried to tie this war up with all the premises it had in the society, for this political crisis did not come from nowhere but did had reasons. This book is very important to read because a lot of lessons can be taken from it. Of course we do not deal with real slavery no more but there is a split nowadays too, and as it is known to build a meritorious future we have to learn our lessons from the past.

In the very beginning of his book he says that the Civil War was "the second act of America's democratic revolution". This is a phrase that shows his main argument beforehand. As it is known the American Revolution was organized by two sides: lave-labor and free-labor communities. This could not last forever due to the crisis that literally absorbed both of the sides of the union. And this was the main reason of the split between North and South. All of the above flew into the Civil War. In his book BRUCE Levin shows his own understanding of the reasons of the Civil was and becomes a trailblazer in the discussion of this problem. This problem really does have deep roots, because so many people devoted themselves into this freedom fight and is very important to understand Why?. Bruce Levin explains this commitment for freedom from both of the sides. And this is very good, because he does not say who was right or who was wrong he just gives objective reality to the judgment of people. South with slaves that could not resist the servitude any more and North with their support of free-labour. He puts the issue of slaver on the very top. As we can see a lot of people do not agree with Bruce Levin in his thinking that Civil War was completely predetermined by all this social, economical and political issues, the way he explains it in his book makes the reader take him point of view, too. Levin, in his book makes a big stress on the slaver-issue and its meaning for the future Civil War. It is very hard not to agree with him on that. His book is an authentic introduction to the social and political processes that were coincident and caused the coming of the Civil War. As any author Levin has a thesis that he makes the base of his work. In this case it was Eric Foner's 1970 free labor thesis. A lot of argument may be caused on that matter. It is very hard to argue with slavery having a great influence on the current politics back then. Bruce Levin insists on slavery being the force that in some kind formed the political trend at that time and this kind of pressure was the reason of the Civil War. Of course this statement is of a great argument, because it is very hard to estimate the real dependency the politics had on slavery. In the meaning that slavery was not the only leading force.

Conclusion: Without a doubt Levin does make a generalization of this issue and in some kind views it as a given fact. It is very interesting that Levin throws away another important issue concerning the ethnocultural problem. And many critics point that out, but as every author his has the right for his own point of view of the matter. What is Levins difference from others concerning this book? In the first place it is a different look of the Civil War issue, in seeing it as not the cause but as the reason. He also really shows that racism did really exist back then and that white people had hatred in their heart towards black people, no matter who is was a man, a woman or a child. And another thing that Levin does is he views the Civil War from the point of the American Revolution. Through all these he shows that his main argument is to underline that antebellum America had a conflict, a conflict, as it was mentioned above, between the slavery system and the free labour. And this conflict found its runout in the Civil War. From Levins point of view the Civil War was that it was the continuation of the American Revolution, which produced two social systems, and therefore a future split. It was a real pleasure reading this book, due to its accessibility in comparison with other historical books and it gave a deeper understanding of Americas past.


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